BY SUZAN EDEH, Bauchi
Residents of Bauchi will be forgiven if they now live in dread of Sunday which is increasingly becoming a bad omen to them given the tragic incidents associated with the day in recent time. For instance, last Sunday was another bloody day in Zango area, a suburb of Bauchi State metropolis as unknown gunmen attacked and killed nine people, while seven others sustained injuries.
Vanguard Metro, VM, gathered that the incident which took place around 7.30pm in the evening happened in an area that is one of the flashpoints in the town which has witnessed several ethno religious and communal clashes in the past.
It was further gathered that the gunmen who came to the area in a KEKE NAPEP attacked the people who were resting and chatting under a tree at the residence of a community leader in the area. The gunmen, according to eyewitnesses in the area, who were six in number, released a hail of bullets on their victims that left them no chance of survival.
The incident caused pandemonium and confusion in the area as residents scampered for the safety. According to one of the residents who spoke with VM on what happened that fateful day:
“The scene of the attack is as place where both elderly and young people usually come to relax because it is the residence of a community leader in the area. While relaxing, they usually engage in gambling through the game of cards. But on that day, they were just relaxing and chatting as it has been the tradition for a number of years. I was in the house that very day because it rained throughout the day.
“In the evening when the rain subsided at around 7.30 pm, I heard gunshots, but I did not know the direction it was coming from and who was the targeted. Everybody in the neighborhood stayed indoors in fear. It was later that we heard that some people at the residence of the community leader in the area were attacked and that some got killed. Immediately after the attack, security operatives cordoned off the area”.
An eyewitness, who gave his name as Simon Ibrahim, told VM that he was coming back from an outing with his wife and daughter when he started hearing gunshots. He quickly took his wife and daughter to a place of safety. He said: “I saw four men in a KEKE-NAPEP pretending to be repairing the tricycle.
“All of a sudden two other men came down from a bike and started shooting sporadically into the air to scare people in the area away, while the four men repairing the KEKE-NAPEP brought out guns and started shooting all the people under the tree. After the shooting ceased, I decided to go to the scene of the attack to see things for myself.
“The first victim I saw was already dead with his brains spilling from his shattered head. Another person who was shot on the chest was calling for help; but help was late in coming as he eventually died on the way to the hospital. I will never forget this incident for the rest of my life, because I saw death staring me in the my face. The attackers escaped”.
Another resident of the area who pleaded anonymity had this to say: “The attackers came in a tricycle and started shooting sporadically killing nine people on the spot and injured several others. Everybody is now living in fear in this area because nobody knows who is who and when the assassins will attack again”.
Confirming the incident to newsmen at the Police Headquarters in Bauchi, the Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Ladan said: “The gunmen who were six in numbers came in a tricycle and shot sporadically at all the people who gathered to relax at the residence of a community leader in the area, after which they escaped to an unknown destination”.
While assuring that the culprits would be brought to justice, Mohammed Ladan said that the police are still investigating the matter and urged members of the public to assist his men with useful information that could lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.
The Bauchi State Governor, Dr. Isa Yuguda also condemned that Sunday attack on innocent people at the Zango area of Bauchi metropolis, describing the attack as an act of terrorism which his administration and other governments in the country are fighting hard to eradicate.
The Governor according to a press release from the Office of the Chief Press Secretary, Ishola Michael Adeyemi, copies of which was made available to news men in Bauchi Monday, condoled the families of all those who lost their loved ones in the barbaric act, praying God to give them all the fortitude with which to bear the irreparable lose and called on them to take solace in God the giver and taker of lives even as he wished all those that were injured quick recovery.
Gov. Yuguda described the assailants as terrorists and assured that government will do everything humanly possible to track them down and bring them to book because according to him, “there is no way we will allow criminals and terrorists to continue to live among us, terrorizing innocent people; we must join hands to stop these heinous acts.”
He added that the terrorists acts are not directed at one direction either because of religion, tribe and or political affiliation but a general target at every citizen of the country saying that, “we must all come together to fight these evil men, they live among us and we must expose them at all cost, these wonton killing must stop now.”
He appealed to all those affected not to do anything that will aggravate the already tensed situation which may lead to the breakdown of law and order saying, “let us allow the security operatives to do their work and eventually track down the criminals, we should please avoid anything that will lead to the loss of more lives and disrupt the peace that we are enjoying in the state.”